Baltimore attorney Charles N. Curlett Jr. has filed campaign paperwork to run for city State's Attorney next year.
Baltimore attorney Charles N. Curlett Jr. has filed campaign paperwork to run for city State's Attorney next year. (HANDOUT)

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has her first challenger, should she seek reelection next year.

Attorney Charles N. "Chad" Curlett Jr., a former New York prosecutor, told The Baltimore Sun that he will run for top prosecutor in the Democratic primary next June. He filed preliminary campaign paperwork in the fall, and again last week.


"I think Baltimore needs new leadership in the state's attorney's office," Curlett said. "I think the voters will agree, and I think I can make Baltimore safer and can improve the office."

Curlett said he will make a formal announcement later.

Mosby, who drew national attention with her decision to file criminal charges against six officers in the 2015 arrest and death of Freddie Gray, has given no indication that she will not seek reelection. She did not respond to requests for comment Monday about her plans for 2018.

Others are rumored to be considering runs for state's attorney, but no one has filed paperwork or announced their intentions.

Curlett, 45, who lives in the Oakenshawe neighborhood of North Baltimore, was an assistant district attorney with the Manhattan district attorney's office. He practices law with former federal prosecutor Steve Levin at Levin & Curlett LLC in Baltimore.

The Johns Hopkins University and Brooklyn Law School graduate began his career with the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, where he was involved in the investigation and trial of genocide committed in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, according to a biography on the firm's website. Ten years later he was part of a team that documented genocide in the Central African country of Chad.

He also served with the independent monitor for the Detroit Police Department under a federal consent decree. Baltimore officials are negotiating a consent decree with the federal Justice Department.

Curlett chaired a panel of the Greater Baltimore Committee in 2010 that made recommendations to then-incoming State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein on best ways to run the office.

"I won't sugarcoat it; Baltimore is in a state of crisis," Curlett said Monday in an email. "In recent years, Baltimore has seen an unprecedented increase in crime in its streets. The murder rate has escalated. Violent criminals do not fear prosecution because conviction rates have fallen and the revolving door of the criminal justice system too often returns them to the streets far too soon.

"My plan is a progressive, smart-on-crime approach that focuses on prosecuting violent criminals, early intervention in the lives of young people to prevent future crime, and reducing recidivism among non-violent offenders who will inevitably return to our communities. I will work closely with the Baltimore Police Department to restore the trust of the police in the state's attorney, so our citizens can place their trust and confidence in our local police."

Mosby, who defeated Bernstein in 2014 to become state's attorney, faced praise and criticism for her prosecution of the six officers in Gray's death. The trial of the first ended in a hung jury, and the next three were acquitted.

Mosby then dropped all remaining charges against the officers still awaiting trial.

Curlett defended a Baltimore police officer accused of animal cruelty for slashing the throat of a dog and an off-duty New Jersey police officer who shot and killed a man in an alleged road rage incident in Anne Arundel County. Both officers were acquitted.

Curlett also represented a 15-year-old accused of stabbing cyclist Robert Ponsi to death in Waverly. The teen admitted to committing the stabbing, but Curlett convinced a judge to waive the case to juvenile court while two accomplices were tried and convicted as adults.